Bank to help fund poverty alleviation in panda park

By Global Times - Xinhua Source:Global Times-Xinhua Published: 2018/3/7 23:13:39

The Sichuan branch of Bank of China plans to offer a loan of at least 10 billion yuan ($1.57 billion) to help poor people living in areas to be included in a planned national park for giant pandas.

The fund, to be used in a variety of poverty alleviation projects, will be offered between 2018 and 2023, according to an agreement signed in Chengdu, capital of Southwest China's Sichuan Province on Tuesday between the bank and local county governments.

The projects include collaborations between the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding and the governments of 19 counties to be included in the park.

Last year, China announced a plan to set up the giant panda national park spanning three provinces - Sichuan, Shaanxi, and Gansu - to help the endangered species move around and strengthen their gene pool, which will allow ease of movement for pandas currently living in isolated areas on six mountains in the provinces.

The park will cover 27,134 square kilometers, three times the area of the Yellowstone National Park in the US.

Pandas were downgraded from "endangered" to "vulnerable" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature after a nationwide census in 2016 discovered 1,864 pandas living in the wild in China, a 16.8 percent increase since a similar suevey conducted in 2003, thanks to an improved habitat environment.

Global Times - Xinhua

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